Picks and Pans Review: I See You Everywhere

updated 10/20/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/20/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Julia Glass

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One doesn't read so much as sink into a Julia Glass novel, lulled into an escapist reverie by her mastery of a certain upper-middle-class milieu—think Ivy League educations and European vacations—and its attendant luxury problems (finding both oneself and true love being recurrent themes). In this story about sisters spanning 25 years—and nearly as many boyfriends, cross-country moves and career changes—the reader is initially in familiar territory, propelled by cinematic fast-forwards that keep the pace sitcom-snappy. The fraught bond between Louisa (the responsible sister) and Clem (the reckless one) serves as a thread loosely connecting their life trajectories, until an abrupt severing blindsides reader and sister alike. It's a risky move by an assured writer and it pays off, elevating a novel that begins as sophisticated diversion to a haunting dissection of human fragility.

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